All employers must learn how to manage safety. It’s the law of the land, the right thing to do and staff work better when the boss leads by example. The benefits of managing safety in the workplace are limitless and the money spent on it is a tiny percent of what comes out of the profits if it goes wrong. I thought I would share an incident that to this day seems beyond belief.
“We’d better not” was the response to my request to “lead on, let’s evacuate” as the fire alarms went off. It was day nine and my last day of training a workforce of 60 in fire safety awareness and manual handling. So it came as a shock that my learners were reluctant to practice what we had just covered. Only half of the people on site evacuated. It wasn’t a test or drill, it was a genuine alarm.
When we returned to the training room, I was almost speechless at the lack of action taken by so many. Given that the site was an engineering business, and had many potentially dangerous hazards, I needed to understand what was going wrong.
I was told that the owners had instructed staff to ignore the sirens and not to evacuate when the fire alarm sounded and past incidents had resulted in staff being shouted at and verbally disciplined for doing so. Understandably, they were scared of the boss.
This begs the question of what competency, i.e. skills, knowledge and experience of health and safety law that business owner possessed that made him irresponsible, a risk taker and a law breaker. Perhaps, he relied on the lack of HSE inspections that have reduced by some 11,000 since 2012.
It’s not the first time that I have heard such disturbing statements. I am quite often quizzed as to how the employees can get the management to follow the same rules as I am training them to do. Questions like:
Why don’t the managers wear a hard hat in my area if I have to?
This is all well and good Michelle, but why isn’t the boss in this training?
What’s the point of telling us, if the management aren’t interested?
Is it right that we now know more than the managers?
Those are the very reasons that I decided to start my monthly safety workshops. To engage the managers and employers directly and to help them become competent about their moral and legal duties. The first Stockport Works Safer workshop was in June and the feedback was very encouraging. Everyone took something positive back to their business.
With a background of managing many teams at some very large and prestigious sites throughout the Northwest , I am well placed to talk about compliance and how to achieve it. As a contractor, I was employed to relieve ‘the client’ of any issues with regard to health and safety and in 23 years, I never caused my clients any headaches . It also means that I train with my management hat on, which is why my training works every day, I believe in plain speaking, leaving no misunderstanding as to what workers’ responsibilities are.
If you, or someone you know needs some help and support to manage health and safety throughout their business; then come along to the next workshop on Wednesday 29th July. The focus will be ‘fire safety’. You’ll be most welcome. It’s a great environment for you to be able to talk freely amongst your peers and be able to ask for help and advice.
Find out more and register now and start to make a difference where you work.
Work safe, stay safe!
To check dates, discuss and arrange an assessment and/or training, call me on 0161 298 1040 or complete the contact form